Volvo Increases Productivity Through Job Enrichment

by Charles Gibson



The objective of this article is to relate details of some job enrichment programs of the company Volvo AB. Material for this article was obtained in Goteborg, Sweden, where the Volvo home office is located along with major production facilities. The drive behind the job enrichment at Volvo came from the top down management. The job enrichment programs were started in the late 1960s at Volvo and have been intensified in the last couple of years. In new projects the employees were to be consulted in the planning stage. The objective was to achieve the best solution with consideration of environmental conditions and economic requirements. The job environment was considered to be as risk-free as possible to help the employee enjoy his work and build up a feeling of identification with the company. Possibly some of the ideas used by Volvo could benefit American companies as well. Union resistance could be expected if U.S. based companies attempted some of the Volvo approaches such as job rotation and the team method. However, considering that it is in the best interest of both the unions and management to make jobs more meaningful and satisfying to the individual, the obstacles can probably be eliminated if a sincere effort is made.

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